news around the nation
For more information about the FWB Home Missions Department, please visit their website www.homemissions.net
an "inside look" at home missions
DIRECTOR OF MISSIONARY ASSISTANCE RICHARD ATWOOD GIVES READERS GLIMPSES OF DAILY LIFE IN HOME MISSION CHURCHES AROUND THE NATION.
BAPTIZED IN A PULPIT
MARQUETTE, MI I have seen people baptized in creeks, lakes, rivers, swimming pools, and baptistries with pictures of the Jordan River behind them, but I have never seen anyone baptized in a pulpit! While visiting the home mission church in Marquette, Michigan, however, I saw it! Greg Floars and his new congregation recently purchased an abandoned Air Force chapel and turned it into a wonderful, new meeting place for Sawyer Free Will Baptist Church. But they encountered one problem. The chapel had no baptistry. As a solution to this immediate need, some caring donors provided funds to purchase a combination pulpit/communion table/ baptistery. Talk about a lot for your money!
Before the service, the men in the church filled the baptistry with hot water. After the invitation, a couple of men came forward, lifted the top off the pulpit, placed a set of steps at one end, and the baptistry was ready for use. As I watched Greg stand behind it and baptize five people that Sunday morning, I realized that church planters all over North American find ingenious ways to get the job done. It is not easy to build a church, but Greg and his members have worked hard and baptized 140 people in four years. They now average about that many in attendance. Greg was willing to go, fellow Christians were willing to sacrifice and give, and God gave the increase.
OPERATION SALT LAKE
SALT LAKE CITY, UT It’s high noon in Salt Lake City, Utah, and home missionaries Randy Ledbetter and Scott Warren are sweating. They will soon hold the first service in this lonely outpost—far away from other Free Will Baptist churches. They want to plant a Bible believing, preaching church where God is lifted up and people are saved. They need help getting the word out. Here comes the Cavalry—riding in Fords, Chevrolets, Buicks, and even a plane or two.
It is lonely and difficult to build a church in this area long dominated by Mormonism. But it can be done! Join this church planting team on August 26, 2006 to blitz this town with the message of hope. What will happen if the cavalry comes riding in, passing out fliers, going door-to-door inviting people to church, praying, doing acts of kindness, and announcing that a brand new church will start in two weeks? Will you and your church join Home Missions and Master’s Men as they support this team in Salt Lake City? For more information, contact one of the following:
Ken Akers, Master’s Men Department
Richard Atwood, Home Missions Department
Randy Ledbetter, Home Missionary
TEAMWORK IN MOTION
MARQUETTE, MI Bob and Steve, two older men that attend the home mission church (Sawyer FWB) in Marquette, Michigan, came to home missionary Greg Floars and said, “Pastor, we want to do something to help out in the church.”
Greg didn’t know what to say. After all, Steve can barely get around since his stroke, and Bob is blind. He thought their desire to help was wonderful, but he didn’t want to put more on them than they could handle.
“Who cleans the sidewalks for the church?” Bob asked. “We could do that” he added. The upper peninsula of Michigan where they live gets as much as 200-300 inches of snow in the winter. There is always snow to be shoveled around the church property. Again, Greg hesitated, but Bob and Steve wanted to help so much—to feel they were contributing to the mission work. He happily agreed and made arrangements for the two volunteers to have what they would need for the job.
Now, Steve and Bob shovel the snow off the church sidewalks each week. Steve leans on Bob and tells him where to shovel. Bob does the shoveling by listening to Steve’s directions. Bob and Steve are playing a vital role in the Lord’s work by working together. We need teamwork like this in all of our churches!
RECENT AND COMING EVENTS
ARIZONA CHURCH REACHES MILESTONE
QUEEN CREEK, AZ On January 8, 2006, the new church campus at Mountain View FWB Church was dedicated in a service featuring Rev. David Bigger, First FWB Church, Ponca City, OK. More than 350 attended the service.
The church held a grand opening on January 15, with more than 430 in attendance. Our average attendance jumped from 220 in December, 2005 to 330 January, 2006. Thirty-six people attended membership classes during the month of January. God has blessed our ministry since we began the church in the Queen Creek area in 2001. In August we will celebrate our five-year anniversary as a church.
HOME MISSIONS TRAINING AND FELLOWSHIP
NASHVILLE, TN Missionaries from across North America will gather February 19-21, 2007 at the Hotel Preston in Nashville, TN, for training and fellowship. Rev. Paul Thompson, former church planter and pastor of Heritage Free Will Baptist Church in Gilbert, AZ, will be the keynote speaker at the event.
Rev. Chris Truett, member of the Free Will Baptist Music Commission and Minister of Music at Bethel Free Will Baptist, Kinston, NC, will conduct a music seminar. Missionary wives will share in prayer and fellowship on Tuesday with Wanda Powell, Kathy Crowe, and Sandy Atwood.